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Summary: This is the third sermon from Ruth. It shows how Naomi had a vision and developed a plan which affected her future. Our Purpose Driven Vision is included.

Developing a Vision for Spiritual Growth

Ruth 3:1-3, 18

Review: Chapter one shows Naomi is in a bad situation. She has left her own country, lost her husband, lost her two sons and one of her daughters-in-law left her too.

In chapter two we find that Naomi and Ruth had returned to Naomi’s country. Ruth goes out into the fields and is able to glean enough grain to keep them alive. In chapter two Naomi and Ruth discover that they have a relative who could ease their struggle to survive. Naomi looks at this as God’s hand involved in their lives. In fact Ruth 2:20 in the Message Bible puts it this way:

Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!" Ruth 2:20 (MSG)

In chapter three of Ruth we find a chapter of full blown hope. In chapter three its hope that helps Naomi and Ruth dream of a positive future, its hope that helps them to plan, and its hope helps Naomi come up with a strategy. And what a strategy it is!

1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Ruth 3:1-3 (NKJV)

Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day." Ruth 3:18 (NKJV)

This morning I thought about preaching a sermon about how to hook a man. The sermon would have an outline like this: Clean Up, Smell Up, Dress Up and Wait Up.

The verses from Ruth 3 would have supported the outline.

Clean Up – “wash yourself” verse 3

Smell Up – “anoint yourself” verse 3

Dress Up – “put on your best garment” verse 3

Wait Up – “Sit still” verse 18

In fact I could have even gathered scriptures from other sections of the Bible to support the outline. Like:

For Clean Up – How about? James 4:8 (NKJV)

Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

For Smell Up – How about? 2 Cor. 2:14 (NASV)

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”

For Dress Up – How about? Romans 13:12 (NKJV)

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

For Wait Up – How about? Psalms 37:34 (NKJV)

Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land.

I could have had an outline like that – but I didn’t. Why? Because there is something more important to talk about this morning. I want to talk about Developing a Vision for Spiritual Growth. I want to talk about changing from a maintenance mentality to a growth mentality. I want to talk to you about having a vision – about having hope. You see this is what happened in Ruth chapter three. It happened in the lives of Naomi and Ruth.

I have already mentioned how bleak the situation looked for Naomi. Her husband dies, her sons die, one of her daughter-in-law leaves. What a terrible situation. She could have given up all hope. She could have had a pity party. She could of just though – all I’m going to do is try to survive.

Some people do that you know – all they are living for is survival.

They go into survival mode. They get into a maintenance mode. I’ve heard stories of people who die right after they retire because they had been living for their jobs. I’ve also heard of people who die shortly after their spouse dies because they had been living only for their partner. When they lost the thing they were living for they also lost hope. They lost their vision. Individuals do that – they loose hope – but some churches do that too. The Bible talks about this – look at Proverbs 29:18:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”

When you’ve lost your vision – when you can’t see any goals – when you don’t know where you are going or why – you are truly lost. Individuals do that some times – they loose there vision and they perish. Church do that sometimes too. When vision is lost people start thinking with maintenance mentality rather then growth mentality. They think that survival is enough – when in reality it’s not. I was reading this week and ran across this statement.

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